KILGORE, TX (KLTV) - A set of murals painted in 1941 are now back in their original location at The Old Post Office in Kilgore.
The New Deal Murals, painted by Xavier Gonzalez, were moved from The Old Post Office a year after the office ceased operations in 1998.
The paintings were carefully removed and transported to Houston for remounting and preservation by the USPS. The postal service owns the murals which were on loan to the East Texas Oil Museum.
Chip Hale, documentary filmmaker and board member of the Kilgore Historical Preservation Foundation, said the old post office building had to become a usable, public space in order for the murals to be returned.
“The murals that are on loan from the United State Postal Service, we could not get those back in here until we were a viable public event center. So the murals were being watched carefully for us by the (East Texas) oil museum,” Hale said. “We are very grateful to Kilgore College for housing them for the preservation foundation for all these years, but we’re thrilled to have them back.”
The City of Kilgore purchased the old post office building from the USPS in 1999 in coordination with the Kilgore Historical Preservation Foundation and area donors. In 1999, the city granted KHPF a long-term lease to the old post office building.
The East Texas Oil Museum was renovated in late 2018, and the murals were removed from the walls. Since 1999, the preservation foundation has been maintaining and renovating the old post office facility.
With permission from the USPS and the coordination by KHPF, Dallas-based Museum Arts transported the murals to the post office building in February. The murals were put back in their original location on Monday.
“Pioneer Saga” hangs on the north end, “Drilling for Oil” hangs in the south end, “Contemporary Youth” hangs above the post office boxes, and “Music of the Plains” hangs above the cashier window.
Three other paintings are part of the New Deal collection. Two are in Louisiana. The other is in Alabama.